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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  October 18, 2011 1:00am-6:00am EDT

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soon as possible, but he say he will make a formal announcement tomorrow with democrats to discuss be breaking this into pieces? >> the first beast is -- the president's bill came in at $447 billion. the first piece will be $35 billion. that will be to create the jobs of three dozen teachers and 100,000 police, firefighters, and other first responders. >> how many pieces will see it broken up into? how often will we see votes? >> they are aiming for a vote a week. i would guess at least four, five, six pieces. the first piece is the teachers. the reason for that is, the overall program, the obama bill proved popular at the polls. they will force republicans to
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vote on teachers first, whether you hire more teachers, protect teachers or not. the whole thing is to put pressure on republicans. >> what is the plan for paying for these different pieces? >> it all goes back to the proposed surtax on millionaires. it would be paid for by the tax on millionaires. polls found that most americans agreed with it. >> was there also a plan that there would be the senate plan people to make water $50,000? >> that got dropped. >> why are democrats in the senate pursuing this plan to break up the jobs bill? >> capitol hill is mostly moved by politics. this is all politics most americans favor the president's proposal. the republicans voted to block
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the bill. democrats could not get the 60 votes. now they are going to break it up and force republicans to have an unpopular vote at least once a week for the next several weeks, trying to crank up pressure on republicans. republicans respond by saying obama is more interested in campaigning on the issue then he is coming up with a bipartisan solution. while democrats accuse republicans of playing politics, republicans accused democrats of playing politics. in the meantime, there has been a bipartisan solution. >> how are republicans going to vote? >> -- there has been no bipartisan solution. >> how republicans going to vote? >> i think democrats are going to be short of the 60 votes they needed. they would need all democrats, plus seven republicans. last time around, they could not
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even get all democrats. two democrats voted with the republicans. i think democrats are going to have a tough time. >> how could this approach yield better results for those who supported the jobs package in the first place? >> i am sorry, how could it yield better results? >> by breaking it up this way? >> it gives the president and the democrats on the hill and an additional -- on the hill additional ammunition. it will get headlines showing that republicans oppose hiring more teachers. they will get headline joined republicans opposing rebuilding roads and bridges. since democrats controlled the senate, they control what to bring up for a vote. republicans have offered their own jobs package. they offered one last week. they do not control the chamber.
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they are not going to have the headline that democrats reject the republican job program. they are not going to get that vote. >> what are you going to be watching for? >> you kind alluded to it earlier. what you are going to look for is any crossovers. you are going to see if on the last time around, they got all the republicans, which was 47, republicans plus two democrats voted against the jobs bill. now, when they vote on the teachers, the most interesting number will be what is the final count? will republicans hold ranks? or will it break off? that will be what is behind the story. how many republicans break off. those that support a component
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of the president's plan. >> a congressional correspondent for reuters. >> in a few moments, a preview of some of the senate races. and in about 40 minutes, congressional influence on foreign policy. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> -- >> in the "washington journal" tomorrow morning, we will look at occupy wall street. we will take your questions about labor's role in next year's elections. we will talk about how drugs are approved by the fda. our guest is peter hirth, ceo of a pharmaceutical company based in santa scott. "washington journal" is like every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern.
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>> because i am a businessman, of which i am very proud, and connected to a large company, there is opposition. i have attempted -- i was a liberal before many of those men heard the word. i fought for the reforms of theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson before another roosevelt adopted the word liberal. >> he was a member of the democratic party for over 20 years, switching in 1940. he saw and won the republican nomination for president. although he lost the election, he left his mark in political history. speaking up for civil rights and becoming the fourth ambassador for franklin roosevelt. he is one of the 14 men that featured in the new series "the contenders." live, friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
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>> now a look at some of the key senate races in next year's election. this is 40 minutes. host: let's talk about the current balance of power right now and how that may change. guest: letting democrats keep their maturity, here is the thing, republicans need four seats to win the majority. what is really working against democrats in the cycle are the numbers. the races are up. there are 33. democrats have to defend those seat. they are really playing defense
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on this cycle. they are out to protect their maturity. it is going to be tough. host: we are going to go through a number of the races threat this segment and tried to get a feel for what is happening in those states. who the players are and what the chances are for a victory on either side. we have a chart. we are going to start with the far west. we are going to look at why, massachusetts, missouri, montana, and nebraska. let us start with hawaii. what is the situation out there? guest: they are the newest entrant on our topic list of states that we think are too close to call. there is one republican in the state who could win that race, it is the former governor. she got in the race last week. democrats had a primary.
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we think this is going to be a good race. they have one many of the gubernatorial races. this is going to be a competitive race, despite a heavily -- despite being a heavily democratic state. host: it is not a state that people think about that often except for when they are trying to get out of the northeast. this could be an important race for the democrats in the senate. guest: it could be an important phrase. if they cannot hold why, that does not bode well for their maturity. -- told hawaii, that does not bode well for their maturity. this is the president's home state in some ways. he is very popular still. he is leading the ballot. that makes it harder for republicans, without a doubt.
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this is a race the democrats cannot count on having. host: let's go to the next state, that is massachusetts. we have scott brown who is the incumbent and is likely -- his likely opponent will be a elizabeth warren. guest: it is going to be a collection of epic battles. this is one of them. you have scott brown, who was elected in a special election in 2010, in january, but was the leading edge of what became the republican race. now he has got to run in a general election, on a ballot, again, president obama will lead. he is not as popular in massachusetts as you would think. brown's numbers are still good. democrats have come up with a strong opponent in a elizabeth warren who spent the last few
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years in washington on financial services reform. i think this is going to be a battle between the ivy league and the state school. scott brown with his pickup truck versus cambridge. that is the race republicans would like. democrats are trying hard to hide like elizabeth's upbringing, working-class family, -- to highlight elizabeth warren's upper-income a working-class family, things that take her out of the halls of harvard. she has sparked the imagination of progresses. -- progressives, the way she talks about a lot of ideas. it is going to be a wonderful place. it is going to go down to the wire. host: one more thing about that
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race. that was the seat that was for a long time held by senator kennedy. is this -- be stick looking at, we put a republican in there, -- the state looking at, we put a republican in there, we are ready to give the state back to a democrat. is this something the democrats have to work for? guest: the democrats have to work for this. scott brown never thought he was a caretaker for this seat. he has been very bipartisan. democrats accuse him of telling the republican of line. there are instances where he has voted with them. voters seem to appreciate his bipartisan approach, given the gridlock they have been watching, certainly over the last few months. host: in missouri, senator
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mccaskill is up for re election and is facing opposition from akin or the former head of the tea party. talk to us about missouri. guest: missouri is one of the three or four swing states. it has started to move toward republican. mccaskill was elected in 2006 in a very, very good year for democrats. president obama lost the state two years later in 2008. this is going to be another tough battle. it is going to be about where voters go. i'm not sure you are going to see a lot of tickets. mccaskill has her work cut out for her.
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she had a problem with an airplane that she owned and it did not pay taxes on. it ended up costing her about $400,000. that is going to be working in her favor is this republican primary. you have congressman akin and a newcomer to the race who ran a company until recently. he will have plenty of hand sanitizer. republicans seem to be looking at a serious candidate. he can put some of his own money in. there is something about not being part of washington, being a political outsider that seems very appealing to voters this cycle. host: in montana, we have senator john tester, a democrat,
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whose main opposition seems to be coming from denny rehberg. guest: i am going to put that on my list of epic battles. he defeated an incumbent who was hobbled by some ethics questions. he promised to be a different kind of democrat. republicans contend, no, he has been your standard issue democrat. he does against the party when he wants to and when he needs to. one of the reasons this is an epic battle is because denny reedbird represents the entire stake. -- denny rehberg represents the entire state. it really will be a fight. host: 1 morse did we had on that page, nebraska. -- one more state we had on that
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page, nebraska. ben nelson has some competition coming from the current state treasurer. talk to us about that race? guest: senator nelson is the most at risk incumbent. he trails his opponent. it is hard to be a democrat in nebraska. it is going to be even harder in 2012. republicans have a three-way primary. the treasurer, he has run for the sweep twice before -- seat twice before and lost to ben nelson. right now, he will give nelson a. riis. it is telling that democrats have already aired about $600,000 worth of ads on ben nelson's behalf.
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it is a sign of how much work he needs to do. they are all in. they are going to fight for this. host: so far, in the five states we have talked about, -- for state, massachusetts, nebraska, montana, and missouri, on the map we have got in here from the cook political report, those states are all in green indicating that they are tossups. it would not surprise you that any of these incumbents were to lose in 2012? guest: not at all. the one thing we know is that they do not split between the parties. one party tends to win more. you have incumbents in this category, it does not surprise us to see a few of them fall. host: we are talking with jennifer duffy, she is the
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senate editor at the cook political report. if you like to get involved in the conversation give us a call at 202-737-0007 for republicans. you can also get in touch with us via twitter, e-mail, and facebook. let's take a look at the other half regarding tossup races. that includes nevada, new mexico, virginia, and wisconsin. again, these are red all over the map. we will take a look at some of those individual races in just a second. first, we want to go to the phones and take our first call. it comes on our line for independence. but of richmond, virginia.
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caller: i would like to talk about the senate race with george allen. i hear the polls are very close, a percentage or two. i know there is no way george allen should win. they are going by usual statistics, percentage wise, twice as many numbers as facts. with barack obama being on the ticket, there is no way that george allen should win because virginia is 18% black, there will be a high black vote. george allen would have to win over 65% of the white vote to win. that is an impossibility. even reagan did not do that. host: tell us about this race in virginia, which is green, which indicates it is a tossup.
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guest: it is on my epic battles. you have two candidates, the democrat, former governor tim kaine, former head of the democratic national committee. the likely nominee for republicans is former governor george allen. a former member of the senate who lost his reelection bid in 2006. the caller has a good point in that this is a presidential year. virginia is going to be at the top of democrats target list. the president, he carried it into a dozen eight. he needs to carry it again. i will take issue with the fact, will the vote be as high as it was in 2008? right now, people say no. some african americans are disappointed in the president and what he has done. you have to understand, too,
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unemployment among african americans is over 16%. the economy hit them hard. this is a race where every single poll has shown these candidates statistically tied. i think it is going to be that way all the way till next november. host: our next call comes from burlington, massachusetts. on a plan for republicans. caller: every couple of years, a third of the senate is up for reelection. my question is, in 2012, what is the breakdown? i think it is something like what the democrats and 13 republicans, where something along those lines. guest: 23 democrats and 10 republicans. caller: 23 and 10.
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thank you very much. host: you still with us? caller: yes. host: willie b voting for senator brown or elizabeth warren? caller: senator brown, without a doubt. host: let's move on to atlantic city, new jersey. caller: my comment is about the elections themselves. the 2010 election, we saw a large group of seats change and republicans were brought in. then you have, nothing gets done in washington. i am wondering, i think the sentiment in the country is that people elect people to govern and they expect things to get done right now, because the
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problems are a meeting. that does not seem to happen. all the other electro, nuances of elections, are fine to look at, but people want something done. i am not sure the people who run convey that they can and do -- can and will do something. guest: i think this is true. the voter has a point. americans are getting increasingly frustrated with washington's inability to get things done. the approval rating is 13% for congress. that pretty much tells the whole story. more than 2/3 do not think the country is headed in the right direction. you do see a lot of challengers at the talking about the need to put the rank for aside and get something done. i think you will see a lot more
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campaigning that way. i have even heard some only die- hard democrat and republican incumbents talking like that. what they need to do is get the leadership to understand it is time to put the political battles aside and get something done. host: on our line for democrat. thank you for waiting. caller: i am a senior and i talk to seniors all across the united states. they are going to be voting for obama and four democrats because they are worried about their medicare and social security and they know that democrats will help protect it. i do not think it is fair to the democrats because cook, they do not pull -- poll black people or
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anybody of color. i think she's use it. i think this time -- she scues it. i think this time the democrats will get back in. host: how'd you know but who the cook political people talk to? caller: someone called in and asked mr. cook on your show and he said they did not pull blacks -- poll blacks and spanish people. guest: we do not poll anybody. we do not do our own polling. we go through every national poll taken. that includes polls taken by a hispanic voters and the seniors.
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we in corporate that data into what we are doing. well mr. cook was right, we do not poll, he should at at it, we do not pull anybody. host: let that more about these races. -- let's add more about these races. in nevada we have another cost of. -- toss up. guest: nevada is becoming more and more of a swing state. in 20008 -- in 2010, it elected a republican governor and yet we elected a democrat to the senate. you have a battle between and appointed a senator, he was serving in the house, he intended to run for the senate when he was elevated to the senate. he has to run in his own right.
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his opponent is a congressman who represents las vegas. another terrific battle that is going to be close all the way through. they both have a lot to bring to the table. the fund-raising has been stellar. she is tireless on the campaign trail. the gentleman has held a stake of as. he is well known. host: he has pulled in just $670,000 for a three month period. in the same amount of time, rep berkley has raised over $1 million. is there something we should see from that? guest: yes, she represents las vegas. [laughter] here is something about money that i do not think has been
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appreciated. we pay a lot of attention to what candidates raise and how much they spend and on what to read these outside groups -- and on what. these outside groups, they are putting so much money into these races that candidate fund- raising is becoming secondary. berkeley has more money right now pending, it does not concern republicans. there will be enough outside money in that race. host: back to the phones. i believe that is -- mississippi. steve? steve, are you there? i am sorry, i think that is john in florida? are you there? caller: yes i am. it is a comment. i wish there would be a good
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independent candidate for president that could work with both sides. we just never have that choice. host: we are talking about senate races. is there anything you wanted to talk to us about senate races? caller: my second point was to try to give the republicans a majority for once. let them have a chance once to have a true majority, see what they can do. the democrats did when obama first came in. instead of jobs, it was health care. it should have been jobs. i think he would have been reelected no problem if he focused on jobs and made them the most important thing in our economy. host: how much is jobs going to play as an issue in these races?
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guest: it is huge. it is the one thing that raises to the top of every voter's list of concerns. they want to talk about jobs and almost nothing else. that is something that you are going to see every candidate talk about. for some democrats, they will defend what the president has done. but some democrats have voted against the president's jobs bill last week. there is a senate race in florida that has the potential to get competitive. bill nelson. republicans have a primary, none of their candidates are very well known. that has the potential to join that list of toss up states. host: on that list was the mexico. we have representative martin heinrich, a democrat who is running.
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we could also see former rep heather wilson who represented the state for 11 years getting back into politics and running for the senate. talk to us about this race? guest: this is an open seat. had the senator run for reelection, and we would not talk about this. this is one of the few open seats where both sides are going to have a competitive primary. martin heinrich was former mayor of albuquerque is being challenged by the state treasurer. on the republican side, you have had the wilson challenged by john sanchez who is the state as a lieutenant governor. it is going to be a good race. this is a place where president obama did well in 2008. his fortunes have sunk here. i think this is going to be a
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state that they have to make a play for. let's see who comes up of these primaries. whether any primary doc party gets a leg up. but now it is close -- whether any party gets a leg up. right now is close. caller: hello. i have one quick question. it concerns if she believes that there might be any third party candidates who would creep into the senatorial elections to try to get votes from either party? guest: it is possible to read it has happened in the past. it is hard it is possible. it has happened in the past. it is hard to run as a third- party candidate without funds. i have not seen a series independent in any race yet. it is still pretty early.
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some of them get in late in the game out of sheer disgust. it is worth watching, especially in these tossups states that are going to be so close. host: our next call comes from our line for democrats. caller: good morning, there. nice to speak with you. a few questions. i want you to comment on the ohio senate race with brown and his potential against any of the republicans that may run. also, i wanted to know your .pinion on mccaskill i do not think that mexico race is going to be as competitive with other wilson. i think she may not even come out of that primary. that lieutenant governor is a strong fund-raiser. i want to hear your comment on
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all of that. guest: we will start with ohio. while ohio is not on our list, i expect it will get there eventually. brown, elected in 2006, is going to face -- the likely republican nominee is the state treasurer. he is about 33 or 34 years old. a tireless campaigner who has lung people away with his ability to raise money. -- who has blown people away with his ability to raise money. this is going to be a base of contest. .deological contrast it is going to be one of biography. someone like brown, who has been in public service most of his
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life, mandel has done two tours in iraq and been in the state legislature. i think this has the makings of a good race. not quite there yet. it is possible. we talked about misery a little bit. i do think mccaskill does have a race because of the nature of the state, it is starting to tilt toward republicans. obama did not win in 2008, you cannot win it in 2012. what comes out of both of these primaries, sanchez has been able to raise some money. one of the things he brings is he can also put some of his own money in which he has done in his past races. host: we talked about the nebraska race. we want to show and had put up by ben nelson's campaign in
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coordination with the campaign, that adestions about how bad a came to be. >> this is an excuse. >> they do not get it. they put politics ahead of what is best for the country. we need to balance the budget, but not on the back of senior citizens. bring our troops home with pride and dignity and invest in american jobs and america's future. i am ben nelson, i approve this message because we need to stop playing politics and find common sense solutions. host: this is labeled as an issue at. it looks like a vote for me advertisement. guest: this is creating a lot of controversy inside political
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circles. the ad is being paid for by the state democratic party. they get the money for it from the democratic senatorial campaign committee in washington. political parties can spend but is known as a coordinated amount of money on behalf of their candidate in any given state. it is done by population. every state is different. what democrats are saying is this is not a campaign at, this is an issue at, despite the fact that the candidate is speaking directly to camera. this has some potentially big implications for campaign finance and the way parties spend money. there is no such thing as limits anymore. it is a free-for-all. this really does have a lot of implications in every state and
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for every party. host: alan next call comes from our plan for republicans -- our next call comes from our line of four republicans. caller: thank you for taking my call. i am commenting on a few calls before. she was talking about how seniors will vote for obama because we do not want to lose our social security. if we do take social security, it will not be the current amount. it will be those that are coming down the line, the younger people. the idea of president obama spending a billion dollars on his campaign, that is like buying an election. he cannot stand on his record. it is abysmal. i am so disappointed in everything that is happening to my country. i wish the politicians would
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please do what is best for the country, not their own election or their own self. i am disgusted with the political system. guest: i am going to agree with her on social security and medicare. whatever changes are made and have to be made to keep these programs help the, it will not impact current beneficiaries. it means raising the retirement age. people working longer and of living longer anyway. medicare may be making under workers put more into the system than they currently do. the average couple that retires this year will have put about one member thousand dollars into medicare -- about one of a thousand dollars and to medicare, they will take out $300,000. that is not a sustainable
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program. as far as obamacare and reelected, we shall see. it is going to be an interesting place. host: aware next call from tennessee -- our next call from tennessee. what is your question or comment? caller: what they give a brief comment. -- let me give a brief comment. i believe this coming election will be a referendum on the senate. one of the senators said that his job is to make sure that the president will be a long term president. i do not think that is the top of the senators. we send them to seek the interest of the american people, not to make the president a one- term president. the president is trying his best. what is the senate doing?
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what are they doing to help the american people? my question is, i believe i will give the president a second chance because everybody deserves a second chance. host: we will leave it there. guest: the ad he was referring to is one made by mitch mcconnell about what he thought the president's prospects were. he said he would like to see him be a one-term president. of course he believes that it does speak to help lead to such as the senate has become. both parties do it. the democrats worked hard to manage president bush. that is part of the issue we are dealing with the delivery of body -- with. the deliberate if somebody has
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become one upmanship and who scored the most points and less about getting legislation through and working to solve problems. the parties would say, that is not true. guess what, the best legislation that ever comes out of the senate is one that goes both parties do not like. host: the democrats who are trying to hold onto their seats and the republicans who are trying to unseat them, how much of their campaigns are going to be based about the president? will the democrats be sticking with the president or will some of them be trying to separate themselves? guest: it depends where you live. somebody like john tester is going to separate himself from the president, who is not popular in montana. mccaskill, when the president was in missouri last, she had a
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previous appointment and did not join him on stage. somebody like elizabeth warren is likely to embrace the president. shelley berkley in nevada where bill nelson -- or bill nelson will be more likely to stick with him. it depends on where you live and how well the president is doing there. host: next up is bill from cherry hill, new jersey. caller: i am a democrat all my life. one of the things -- it seems like every single time these program is going, i tell you, these democrats are going to have to get off -- and get out there and vote. they talk about all of the things we need.
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they say the president is not doing enough for us. people complain about what is happening, they need to go to the polls and vote. that is why we are in this situation now because in the last partial election people dropped the ball, sat on their hands, and republicans got in. host: is there one side or another that is going to have the advantage if there is a larger than average turnout? guest: we do not know that yet. we know that, obviously, in two dozen 8 senator obama did benefit from what we called -- into the and a senator obama did that -- did benefit from surge voters who were voting for the first time or usually did not participate. part of his election is making toward that those voters come out again. he has work to do with some of
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these groups because of unemployment. the caller is right. you lose your right to complain if you do not vote. host: last call comes from seattle washington. caller: good morning. got a comment first, my comment deals with the occupiers out there. the comment is, there is a book that talks about organization. i think the occupiers are following that path. my question is, what kind of impact do you believe the occupy wall street occupiers will have on the senate races? do you believe the occupiers, if they continue to grow momentum, will have some change on the policies within congress?
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thank you. guest: the caller is right. it is a group that is lacking in leadership. it is also lacking an agenda. i got a press release that they will be occupying a golf course in california later today. they did not say whether they were bringing their own clubs. going to play nine. they are giving voice to a lot of the voters' frustration. unless they do get organized and start backing candidates against democratic incumbent, i do not think their impact is going to be felt in the election. i think the democratic elected officials are sort of encouraged by their vocal demonstration. i do not see it changing any policies either. host: thank you very much for coming on and talking to us
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about the senate races. >> in a few moments, a form on congressional influence. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] in two hours, a discussion on privacy. and then a threat to the u.s. from syria and iran. several bloody events to tell you about tomorrow. the senate homeland security -- several lobby event to tell you about tomorrow. at kennecott, here on c-span, treasury secretary tim geithner testified on capitol hill about the effect of last year's small business act. he is before the senate small business committee. ben bernanke speaks at a conference of the federal reserve bank in boston. that is also on c-span at 1:15 p.m. eastern. >> this weekend, six republican
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presidential candidates travel to des moines to the faith and freedom coalition. watch the live coverage of herman cain, newt gingrich, rick perry, ron paul, and michele bachmann, starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern on saturday. >> now, a discussion of congressional influence on foreign policy. the center hosted this little more than two hour event. >> i think this is an important topic. i was thinking back over the nine terms i served in congress. it was 100 and 19 dog years. the difference was we got into. the different ways -- the
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different wars we got into. the different ways they were authorized to read from bosnia in 1995 to iraq to afghanistan. more recently, to libya, when i no longer was there. each time, congress's bowl seemed to be different -- role seem to be different and the justification seemed to be different. it is important to probe the subject. so far as we know, the constitution has not changed. it is still congress's job to declare war. i have come to listen up. they are smart people on this panel. also, to say, that john and i served together on the house commerce committee 1000 years ago. those were the days when there was some bipartisanship. i know most of you cannot
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remember that was ever true. it was true. he and i worked at a bend. we have worked to get a cent. the woodrow -- he and i worked together then. we have worked there since. the woodrow wilson committee is committed to fostering a thoughtful conversation, respectful interaction, and bipartisan solutions to tough problems. one of them is what role congress should play as we confront different challenges in foreign policy, some of them involving kinetics. i want to thank you for doing this panel. give you an actual hug, and welcome our audience. [applause] >> thank you.
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today's program is the first in a series in the coming academic year on the theme of congress and global challenges. we are grateful to chevron and its support for making this possible. we thought it would be advisable to kick off the subject -- series with an overview. hence our title, "congress is influence on foreign policy: for better or worse?" the state department and others are feeling that sting. many americans think that foreign policy is the exclusive prerogative of the president. they are annoyed that congress should presume to interfere with the prerogatives. in fact, that is what woodrow wilson thought when he wrote the following, "the initiative in foreign affairs which the
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president possesses is the power to control an absolutely. -- absolutely." as we recall from the treaty of versailles, he largely had that attitude when he was president, yet the founders had congress in mind as a player in in foreign affairs when it gave exclusive powers to declare war, define and punish felonies on the high seas, impose duties and regulate the value not only of u.s. currency but foreign currency, something in the news these days. the senate has shared powers with the president on ambassadorships and treaties. congress's powers of the purse goes to domestic matters and foreign and military affairs as well.
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i was thumbing through the 286 pages of house authorization for foreign relations, and it covers a lot of territory, and i think they considered 77 amendments during july, but notwithstanding these separate powers, the intent of the framers that congress should act as a check both at home and abroad. congress has tended to defer more and more to the president since the u.s. became an international power, and when it does get involved of making foreign policy, is accused of meddling. i recall henry kissinger saying it is like answer paddling on the kellogg, each thinking in -- on a log, each thinking it is during the thing. -- steering the thing.
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congress is organized to play a role in foreign policy, for most through its committees system. to authorize programs in those areas, finance and ways and medias, foreign operations and defense allocations. all of these committees and subcommittees consume a substantial amount of time and lead to debate on the floor of the house and senate, so congress is involved in the formulation of funding and oversight of america's foreign policies. what we are asking is whether that involvement is for better or worse. does it enhance or detract from quality of success from foreign policy? we have an excellent panel to
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help answer those questions. you have the biographies before you, so i will not go into detail for each of these, but let me go briefly through who we are going to hear from. we are going to hear from the former senator of new hampshire, who has served six years in the house of representatives and six years in the u.s. senate, and he was active in budget matters and the armed services committee. we will hear from david mccain, who is currently of public policies dollar, a former chief of staff and former foreign relations committee staff member for senator john kerry of massachusetts. he is the author of a biography i think you will find interesting corcoran. we are very grateful for your work and for filling in the last moment after the withdrawal of the congressman, and who had a last minute scheduling
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conflict. i gave him the option of waiting for the discussion or saying a few words, and he was kind enough to say, i worked on the hill with you. i can be with the rest of them, so i will fill in a few remarks, too. then we will hear from james and lindsay, the former national security council staffer and a political scientist and co-author of several books, including congress and the politics of u.s. foreign policy, so we are grateful for you for being with us today. finally, we will hear from someone i have imposed upon several times to be here. she is with the congressional correspondent for the christian science monster. -- monitor. she was the paris bureau chief, so she has looked at this issue
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from both sides, and we would be grateful to her for insights. prior to being a journalist, she taught political science at college, she is someone my former boss, lynn martin, would have been proud to know, because she always said those journalists should be required to take one political science class during college days, because some of them do not know what is going on. i am going to yield the podium to the senator for such time as he might consume. >> let me be the first to recognize that yielding to a senator for as much time as they want is the most dangerous thing you could possibly do in a format where you are trying to get to other speakers, but i will try to keep my remarks brief and focus on some of the peculiarities of congress in general and the house and senate in particular, how they
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might contrast with one another, how members might arrive at their own decisions with regard to foreign policy, what kind of background to they bring to their view of foreign-policy, and how might that affect some of the outcomes? a few things to say about some of the comments made during the introduction. first, thanks to jane for her kind words. she is a good friend an extremely thoughtful person and worked in a bipartisan way on a host of issues but never more than on the intelligence committee, which she was privileged to lead. she mentioned bipartisanship, and i would start with an observation that there is plenty of bipartisan consensus with regard to foreign policy. president's absolutely agree congress has no business meddling in foreign policy.
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democrats and republicans joined together to agree the oval office has no idea where they are going on foreign policy, so there is opportunity for members of the parties to work together in that regard, but with respect to the age of the debate, the debate goes back to the 1970's, although no question that academic circles have been more thoughtful and more focused on give-and-take with the presidency. some of the most heated debates with congress are on matters of foreign policy approval.
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it is an issue that has been before the country since its founding, and there is no question congress has a role by design. that is the way the framers wanted it. they could have written a constitution that on matters of foreign policy congress could back out, but they did not. there is no more important responsibility than the power to declare war. it is an incredibly important role that is enumerated for the senate to approve, and in terms of relevance, and now you can look through the past few weeks. some who are responsible for the delay might argue that it is important that the treaties are well-crafted. there is no question if you are korean that the delay and the details, and it may simply be a trade agreement, but there is no question it affects foreign policy. dealing with chinese situation, there is no question it is not just relevant but very important to our relations with china, so there is no question congress remains relevant in this debate.
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i see the attention being that in the abstract most americans agree we would like a consensus-driven, unified foreign policy, because that is easier to represent national interest. there are certain members of the congress who are identified by ethnic identity, and none of those things are bad.
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you do not solve the problem by getting rid of parties. you do not solve the problems by telling people you should not identify yourself as an irish-american or an italian american or a polish american. that is what america is all about. you cannot escape the fact of these things affect the way a member of the use their role in their responsibility, so what are the things said drives the members in their approach to foreign policy? first is their personal background. how do their families' views and their -- as an immigrant
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shave their value system and now as they grew up and got -- shape their value system as they grew up and got educated. if you are a first generation polish american family, you are going to be focused on the issues associated with central europe, on issues associated with our allies and adversaries in that part of the world. it is a very natural thing. there is no question the east coast and west coast tend to be of little bit more focused on international issues, and i think that is as much a reflection of geography as anything.
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there are a few people that are not nearly as focused on international issues as their counterparts in europe, but that is a reflection of geography a number of countries people may have visited as they were growing up and in public life. that shapes members perspectives' without question. next is constituency, so regardless of your background, you are bringing your ethnicity, if you are a member of congress, you care about the makeup of the people of your district. where are they from? and what parts of the world are they most focused on? if you represent now dearborn, mich., you will have spent time
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in one of the largest arab- american communities in the united states, and that is going to help shape, help inform your view, and you may find that may shape the intensity a member of congress affects about part of the world now. i think they call it international affairs in the house. if you are a chairman of the african subcommittee, you are going to be more focused on issues affecting the african continent. it does not mean you are going to disregard other parts of the
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world, or if you are a member of one of the committees with foreign policy jurisdiction, it does not necessarily mean you are going to be a good member, but it means you're much more likely to be focused on those issues, but it is not just the foreign relations committee, but the armed forces committee is going to bring members in closer contact with issues having to do with foreign policies and international relations. the homeland security committees are going to bring members in closer contact with these issues because of the amount of work being done around the world to try to deal with a threat from terrorism and other threats to us, so it is not just one foreign relations committee. it is all committees, and a
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final thing to point out is it matters who runs those committees, so if you are on the armed service committee, john mccain and senator levin are going to have a different perspective on foreign policy issues than their counterparts for foreign affairs in the senate. not necessarily better or worse, and whether issues are more partisan or less partisan, those individuals all carry with them their own biases and areas of emphasis. the final thing that affects members perspectives are against themselves. i did not expect i would be so
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involved in issues relating to iraq. if you would ask what issues of foreign policy i would be involved in, where are my going to travel, if you would ask me in 2000, the answers i would have given you would have or no rhyme or reason to what i was thinking of working on in 2004 and in 2006. not many members of congress they are good deal of attention to foreign policy. how many members of congress pay attention?
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i think it is 5% or 10%, and how i would define it would be how many members pay attention or work on foreign policy issues that are not in the headlines, work on foreign policy issues when others in the senate are not working on it or paying attention, so we are all asked to deal with, you have to vote on currency manipulation or a troop deployments or withdrawals from iraq or afghanistan. we have all been through that, and most members pay attention and analyze and come up with their own decisions when it comes time, but who works on foreign policy issues when that is not happening, and it is
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probably 5% or 10%. should it be more? yes, it should be, and the reason it should be more is the close of the more members pay attention to foreign policy issues during the times these issues are not in the headlines, the better prepared they will be to respond to challenges when they do become a crisis situation, and that would be a point i would close on. how do you make the situation better? it is a simple suggestion, and it is probably one that has been made many times before, but it is worth emphasizing, and that is to provide as many opportunities as possible for
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members of congress to discuss this crisis. having a withdrawal of troops is important, but the country would have been better served if people were talking about the nature of the afgani states, its strengths and weaknesses, its failures and opportunities to improve stability 10 or 15 years ago, so the objective should be, whether it is in the council on foreign policy was mentioned, you have got to work as hard as possible to convey what is being discussed. you might not draw as they of a
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crowd if you are talking about now ruth of democratic reform in -- talking about the roots of democratic reform in sub- saharan africa. that might not draw the crowd that a debate of a true policy in afghanistan or iraq would, but it is going to be important, and it is always difficult to tell if and when we will all be attuned into those issues, but if there is a crisis on the world stage that causes us to turn to that issue, we will be better off if we spend time discussing it out of the glare of the spotlight, because they will be better informed. they will be more confident, and they will be able to bring something to the table that will really make a difference for their colleagues in the united states congress.
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thank you. [applause] >> it is interesting you should mentioned sub-saharan african, because the president sent out a letter indicating he was sending out 100 services advisors to uganda, and he plans to send them to see don -- sudan and the condo. -- the congo. this is just coming out in the news, but probably congress has not paid that much attention, but we are involving u.s. military in some other countries in potentially hostile situations. i will turn over to david mckean. you may approach the podium if you wish. >> thank you.
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i think don mentioned that one will be in history and i spent quite a bit of my career working for john kerry. that is what i want to talk about today. as an example of somebody who's career in foreign policy is illustrative of a lot of what goes on in congress, so what about it? is congress a positive issue on -- positive influence on foreign policy? we have to keep in mind any influence congress has relies on the constitution, and one political observer put it very well that "a maker of a sound u.s. policy depends on a vigorous and often combative process that involves both the executive and legislative branches. the country's founding fathers gave each grants exclusive and
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overlapping powers in the rome of foreign policy according to each one is comparative -- in the realm of foreign policy according to each one is comparative advantage. let's be clear that for most of our history and the modern era it has not been much of a struggle. the president has the vision. he sets the agenda. he set the tone. he appoints people to implement his mission, and some will argue there is a key division of power with a question of war. the power to declare war risk given to congress but the power to wage war goes to the president. the last time congress passed a bill with a title declaration of war was in 1942. since then, the u.s. has used terms like authorization to use military force, as it did in iraq in 2003.
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once the war is under way, congress has the power to stop it by cutting off funding. that happened in vietnam. i think it is unlikely to happen again where u.s. troops are involved, but congress has not always taken a back seat and will not always take a back seat. president reagan pursued constructive engagement with south africa. the united states involve economic and military aid to the south african government. it encourages the prime minister of south africa to implement reforms. congress held up the pace of reform was to slow, and in 1986 its path over a bill imposing broad sanctions, so this shared responsibility with the executive branch usually taking the lead, i think it generally works pretty well, but what if
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anything can congress do to make it a more responsible player on a day-to-day basis? from where i sat, i believe the answer is oversights. let me read a paragraph from an article written by thomas mann a couple years ago. sheays one of congress's rolls is oversight, making sure that the laws are faithfully executed. congressional oversight is meant to keep it from spiraling out of control. it has drawn on lessons of catastrophes to prevent them from recurring. good oversight cut sways and keeps policy makers on their toes. -- cuts in waste and keeps policy makers on their toes. it is time consuming.
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investigating possible scandals could easily last into a partisan exercise that ignores deeper issues for the sake of cheap publicity. i would only add that members need information to assess strategic viability and implementation of any policy, and hearings are an important part of this process. too few members attend them. too often, issues are decided without proper information or political considerations, rather than being driven by a critical assessment of pros and cons. it is too easy. take pakistan. congress should be explaining why we need to maintain a good relationship with pakistan. that does not mean the terms of the relationship remain static,
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but it does mean we need to not only understand the failings of pakistan, but we need to put them in a context with our relations with that country, and we need to do so to find common ground. too often, we see the relationship captured and knee- jerk political reactions. so that is a view of congress and foreign policy from 50,000 feet. let me take a more granular look at one committee. i was the chief staff to senator john kerry from 2000-2008, and in 2009 he became chairman of foreign relations. he had been on the committee since 1984 when he was first elected. his father had been a diplomat. as you know, senator it john kerry served in vietnam and later became a critic.
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in 1972, he testified before the foreign relations committee where he asks, how you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake? and i have seen the senator dive into a number of issues. but foreign policy was his great passion. at the risk of stating the obvious, it is very very different to be the chairman and not just one of its members. as a member of the committee, senator john kerry had one, two, two and have staffers responsible for covering issues. and you cannot be an expert on every issue. there is not enough time in the day. so you distinguish yourself up by focusing on a niche or two. this goes to what senator john sununu was talking about. personal experience can help a person find his or her issue. in the 1990's, senator kerry focused heavily on the
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recognition, transition, modernization issues related to vietnam because he had served there. and because he had previously shared the p.o.w. investigation in the senate. subcommittee work can help a member find their issue. senator kerry served as the senior democratic member on the asia subcommittee. which explains why he worked on the cambodian genocide tribunal. an opportunity to lead on an issue can help a member emerge. in the late 1990's, senator kerrey did so, did a lot of work on aids in africa. it was not a mainstream issue. as i noted in 2009, he became chairman and suddenly had to cover the world. use responsible to the entire senate. -- he was responsible to the entire senate. he had to be something of an expert on every issue.
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that means afghanistan, pakistan, egypt, libya. so just to put it in real terms, as a member of the committee, senator kerry spend 20% of his time on foreign policy. as chairman, he spends 50% of his time on committee related work. but i think the one thing that is important is that when he is not in the senate, when they are in recess, he spends a lot of time on the road traveling to such vacation spots as afghanistan, pakistan, the middle east, and darfur. as a son of a foreign service officer, he really believes that in order to understand a country you have to know it. you have to make contact with the people and visit and listened to foreign leaders and see it for yourself. he used to say to me that good diplomacy requires the ability to see another country through their eyes and their history.
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and i think the foreign travel component is especially important to any chairman of a committee that handles foreign policy. after 2004, because senator kerrey was known as a serious student of foreign policy and because he was famous as a former presidential nominee, he could get meetings with any foreign leader he wanted and he developed important relationships. but what changed in 2009 was that many of the leaders of these countries now see a chairman close to the president and they look to him to translate the administration's foreign policy. but i should add, i think the senator has been smart about this. he recognizes that he is a translator and he is not a spokesman of the administration. he understands the congress is a separate branch of the government. in, he is different -- he has differed with the administration on several issues. declaring a the president's strategy on afghanistan went too
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far too fast. and publishing a report that was critical of our civilian assistance in afghanistan. he has also found that as chairman he has a convening power that is extremely important. like bringing in former republican secretaries of state and defense months ahead of the start treaty. the results of having a convening power is that he has that with his own members. privately having members to his house to build relationships and bridge partisan divides. i think it is a big part of why the committee has had some important bipartisan successes. and senator john sununu alluded to this, but let me add that senator kerrey has had a great partner in this and that is senator richard lugar. there are many times when senator kerrey had to run off to another appointment and he was not comfortable, and he was comfortable handed the gavel to senator richard lugar. more commonly, on other committees to find the chairman
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and the ranking member actually wanting to throw the gavel at one another. the last thing that i will note about foreign relations committee and the senator's approach is that he wanted to make it clear that it is not a chairman-center committee to the extent possible. what i mean by that. i think his personal experience here has been instructive. he had been on the committee for 24 years working on these issues, with contemporaries like chairman joe biden and senator chris dodd in signore. he spent most of his career in the fourth position. that can be frustrating. 25 make up the gavel he thought about how to reinvigorate the subcommittee to in power committee members said they felt in days. he created a new subcommittee for senator barbara boxer for women's issues. he led subcommittee chairs share major hearings. he reached out to new members.
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and to empower them to lead on issues through the subcommittee. he knows the committee only succeeds if the members on both sides feel that they get some real value for being on it. because it is not a committee at that wins votes back home. let me stop there. whether it is in the executive branch or congress, effective foreign policy is the byproduct of effective leadership. thank you. [applause] >> i will turn things over to james lindsay did is teaching at the university of iowa. i have very fond memories of the i am city campus -- the iowa city campus. >> go hawkeyes. the university of iowa. thank you very much for having me here. i want to say thank you to the congressmen and to francis lee.
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francis has written an excellent book. i recommend that people not only read it but by it, which is what every author wants readers to do. i also want a say it is an honor to be here with senator john sununu and david and gail. i may oakdale an apology in advance. i am a professor by training, and a professor at a job that was once defined as somebody who talks while other people sleep. so i will endeavor to turn this panel over to you with the audience have to wait. -- half awake. the question i was asked to address was congress's influence on foreign policy for better or worse? my answer? yes. i said that because questions about whether congress's role in foreign policy is quarter bad lies in the eye of the beholder.
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essentially people like congress, when congress is standing up to a president who is doing things they do not like and they want congress to sit down and be quiet when the president is doing what they want him to do. if you are in a historian or political scientist you want to go back and pore through history trying to find examples of a good congressional influence on foreign policy, or whether it is an active as congress or a differential congress. you can find multiple examples on both sides. if you want an argument against the deference to congress, do what arthur's schlesinger did with iran. you can talk about the imperial presidency and congress are rendering its voice and giving us the gulf of tonkin resolution. if you want to argue against an act of congress getting away from the president doing the right thing, an example would be the senate's rejection of the treaty of versailles. so of what i would like to do is
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talk about three different things. one is that congress operates on a disadvantage vis-a-vis the president in foreign policy. it will continue to do so as long as the u.s. has an activist foreign policy. second, politics in here in the shapes what congress does in foreign affairs. number 3, congress influences foreign policy directly or more indirectly.antly congress operates at a disadvantage. as dawn pointed out at the beginning, if you look at the constitution it clearly is important foreign-policy powers to both congress and the president. so much so that there is a famous saying in constitutional circles that the constitution is an invitation to struggle over foreign policy. even so, ever since world war
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ii, the playing field is tilted decisively in favor of the white house. there are many reasons for that. i will lay out three. one and the most important is the changing role or run the world that produces a change conceptions of presidential power. james madison, who helped write the constitution, and became president with a more modern president, during his presidency the house of representatives passed a bill delegating to him decision about whether to go to war with france. he argued that congress could not constitutionally delegate that power, because the war power belongs solely to congress. fast forward in 1950, after the invasion of north korea -- north korean invasion of south korea. you had president truman and deciding to send forces to a
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career without requesting authorization. -- to korea without requesting authorization. or today, president obama in operation odyssey dawn. extensive overseas involvement sit in a national security establishment means that the congress must by necessity a delegate authority to the white house. and it will have exceeding difficulties. we talked about oversight. on both points, keep the following in mind. if you are congress and you want to give authority to the president, generally you have to give the president some leeway. if the law is too rigid, it will be counter improver -- counterproductive.
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obviously, is any of you know, when you delegate you open the room for people to borrow the economists favorite word, sure. in terms of oversight, the national security to established a department of state, defense, treasury, intelligence committee. it is huge and is difficult to oversee. people try to follow what those agencies do, but it is a daunting task. i would also add that it is often difficult for the white house to overseas those same agencies. the third thing is to see that the courts said on sidelines on most issues. whether right -- when i taught, what would happen is that students always thought the courts would step in and
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refereed the separation of powers. as a practical matter, the courts declined to do so. if you want, we can talk about why that is the case. but the fact the court is not refereeing the contest between the president and the white house, it manages the white house for the reasons that do n noted. the president can take the initiative and require congress to tie to stop him. in many respects, we have two presidencies. in domestic politics, the president frequently cannot act unless congress agrees. probably the most notable example would be the debt ceiling debate. in many areas of foreign policy, by no means all, presidents can act until congress stops them. congress does them by passing in law, but laws only become laws of the president signs it.
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if the president vetoes, it goes back to the hill. and as long as the president can maintain the support of 34 senators, which is not that hard to do, a bill is veto-proof. the last foreign policy bill to be vetoed it was the south african sanctions bill a quarter of a century ago. likewise, more recently, we think about president obama and libya. it was a great deal of sentiment in both chambers of but particularly in the house to stop the president's decision on operation odyssey dawn. everybody knew from the start that no bill compelling the president to stop the bombing was going to pass. number two. americans very much like to believe that politics stopped at the water's edge. i actually wrote a blog called the water's edge.
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that fact is politics is not stop at the water's edge, it never has. we talked about the most bitter disputes during george washington's presidency. it came to deal with foreign affairs. i am not arguing that all foreign policy is about politics. there are various committees and staff at work hard to oversee what the government does as part of their business. likewise, as we heard moments ago, individual members have their own policy platforms and things they are interested in. they do try to make a difference. i think it is easier to do in the u.s. senate, which is a little bit more free rein to the members then the more regimented house does. but that said, politics shapes, constraints, and draws what is the congress does in foreign policy and what it is interested in. when you think about the basic law of democratic politics, it
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is that lawmakers gravitate towards to issues that voters care about. the squeaky wheels get the grease. when the public is focused on jobs in the economy, lawmakers are focused on jobs in the economy. when the public is solidly behind the president as it was, let's say in 2002, the fall of 2002, the public tends to rally behind the president. and going beyond that, we tend to get bipartisan politics when there is consensus in the public about what our policy should be, and our politics get to be partisan when there is a considerable difference in what the public wants, not only what we should be doing abroad but what the solutions to those problems are. point 3 is that congress influences foreign policy both directly and even more importantly indirectly. we normally think of
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congressional impact on foreign policy in terms of what laws could pass. did congress forbid the president from, compel the president to do it? some congressional legislation specifies the substance of foreign policy. appropriations bills contain provisions directing how money may be spent. we talked about the south africa sanctions bill. but a lot of focus is on direct, substantive legislation. congress's impact goes beyond that. congress influences policy in two ways indirectly. the first is through the passage of what is referred to as procedural regulation. congress writes the rules of how the federal government operates. historically, congress has created offices in the executive branch when it believes an issue has not been attended to. one of the more reason was was to create an ambassador for
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international religious freedom . likewise on trade policy, congress mandated that the executive branch consult with all kinds of groups as it develops policy. all of these efforts at procedural legislation are predicated on the notion that if you change how our decisions are made or who has the say in making a decision, that you have a different outcome. but congress influences policy indirectly by trying to change a climate of opinion in the country and thereby put pressure on the president to act or not act as the case may be. speeches, television appearances, congressional hearings, op-eds, even stunts like going out on the grounds of the capital and -- with a sledgehammer. or bring out a christmas trees festooned with representation of
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cost overruns and things like that. they are all issues trying to frame public debate. or if you want to be less charitable, to argue that it is political grandstanding. at the end of the day, it is about trying to shape the terms of public debate to make some policies more likely, to make other policies less likely. what congress realized, in part because passing laws is so difficult, part of the effort is aimed at trying to shape the couch relations that the white house makes about what is going to do, what it is likely to be able to accomplish on capitol hill, and what will cost it too much politically. i will stop there. [applause] >> thank you. i'm very happy to be here today, especially because don has helped me on more times i can
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possibly recall, because this institution is one of provide something that congress is short on right now and that is institutional memory. where you can just get a context or even a timeline or even as the question, is this some new thing or has it been going on for years? this is a place the remembers things. and switching to our topic today, foreign policy, to me, it is critical to remember that congress is not abstract, as senator john sununu said. it is about people. and only 5% to 10% of the people are interested in foreign policy. david mckean said that we have hearings, oversight is in a critical part of congress, yes it is, but if you look at hearing rooms they are often just one or two people up there asking questions. they are largely empty. why is that? too few people attend them. the last comment i thought was
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the most poignant. he said, this great interest in foreign policy that some members of congress have had in spades only six seats if they get credit for it back home. -- only succeeds if they get credit for back home. finally, mr. lindsey was just talking about the congress reflecting what the republicans interested in. and all of the gimmicks, the christmas trees, the smashing of imports, is a way to attract the public. what struck me the most in panel discussions is that no one has trashed the media. so let me do that. when i was in paris, my favorite place to spend time was in a bookstore owned by an iranian dissident who had been part of the revolution that brought ayatollah khamenei to power. he assumed that ayatollah khamenei would leave power soon after that, which he never did.
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he and a lot of his colleagues ended up fleeing for their lives and winding up in paris. i loved to talk to him about this. he would follow world affairs closely and have a special interest in the united states, which he visited frequently. last point. the last time i saw him i asked him what he was encouraged with in the world, what concerned him. he said the thing that made him the most of freight in the world was the last time he saw cbs news. he had just come into the country. he turned on the news and he noted that there was only a minute and a half or two minutes devoted to foreign affairs. he said, you are the world's superpower. and you are learning nothing about the world. you do not know anything about the world. you are not being given anything about the world. how can you possibly exercise that authority responsibly? fair point. now we go back to congress. when i was an academic, i
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thought about congress as an institution. when i covered it is impossible to not think about it as people. 535 people that make decisions about how we use their own time and resources. and lately, those decisions have less and less to do with foreign policy. why is that? because you can get hurt by being too interested in foreign policy. because it is a template for up to second, seven second advertisement. some one that cares more about people and fill in the blank and he does in the problems we are facing back home. this occurred to me recently as i was calling a senator's staff, which i do frequently for information. and i wish i could remember what i was calling him about. it would make this a better story. something to do with weapons. maybe it was libya. there was an excellent staff member that said the senator is at an ag fair in indiana.
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and i thought he had not heard me and i repeated the question. he said, the senator is at an ag fair in indiana, meeting do not ask me any foreign-policy questions until november, 2012. there is an important race going on and we do not look as if we are more concerned about something here that -- there than we are here. there was a small version of what i think is a much broader trend in congress. and i was jotting down as people were talking questions that i would love answers to. don collects lots of data. i would like to know the amount of time that a congress person can spend in washington d.c. as opposed to home. my anecdotal sense is that congress starts about 6:00 on tuesday and ends about noon on thursday. and if you get in a way of
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someone axing the building thursday to make a plane, you are taking your life in your hands. so what happens in that small section of time when people are together and can actually talk and build relationships on issues like this? well, look at any member of congress. they carry laminated cards broken out into 15 minute intervals. there is time for committees, but not a lot. there are fund raisers in the evening. they do not have a lot of control over the time they spend doing things. that has had an impact on what we are talking about. another question i would love and answer to it. if you look of the percentage of staff resources, how much is spent hiring and retaining staff that knows something about policy as opposed to staff that can ban the war room, that are good with sums, texting, tweeting, establishing networks?
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i remember a conversation with a man that was regarded as one of the most effective puerto rico people in congress. -- p.r. people in congress. you send me e-mails congress -- constantly. how can you possibly get back to him that quickly to get his response. he goes, i do not do that. i said, what you mean, you are sending me your own thoughts? he says, yes. i know him very well. i know how he would think. i used to work for a member of congress to head to see everything as sent out under his name. it was ridiculous. we kept missing tghe google wave. the google wave is serious. i get it every morning. it is the first thing i look at. what is cresting on google. how quickly can i write something to attach to that wave?
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another question. when you talk to members' staff, what is motivating them? where did they see their career? i was very interested in the oversight function. and there are members of staff who are super bit oversight. they have done it for years. they know a lot. and they are like treasures. when one member of it -- weaves the congress, this treasure is passed on to someone else to continues their excellent work. these people are feeling like dinosaurs these days. the young staffers come out when you talk about what they want to do, they want to get out. they want to go to k. street at one point. the day are carrying college loans that would stagger anyone -- they are carrying college staggerhat would
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anyone. they cannot stay on the hill to work out an area of expertise. i actually did prepare some remarks, which i would like to run through briefly, but i think the main point i want to leave you with is when you ask about congress and foreign policy need to think about the 535 people and to pick up the mark twain story, and the 5000 against oane log. think about what is motivating the staff. what would give them incentive to develop the kind of deep expertise that you need to be effective in foreign policy? as opposed to just coming up with a sound bite that is going to be good in a campaign style environment? there were individuals that made a difference in foreign policy. i was talking to the senate historic office the other day. for some reason the house did
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not do as good a job with their historical memory, but the senate did. we were talking about the great composer, a member of the irreconcilable he said america has risen to a position where he is respected and admired by the entire world. she did it by minding her own business. he opposed the league of nations, as woodrow wilson discovered as many academics did when they came to congress that things are not quite as he thought there would be cared then casually, one of the many superb historians. said, he never went home to idaho. i said what you mean? he said congress in those days only paid for a trip once a year and it was hard to get to idaho. so he never went home. and i thought that is a very interesting point, because members today go home all the time. what difference does it make
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that they are constantly in their districts, as opposed to developing relationships and pursuing arcane interests with fellow colleagues here? i think it is significant. arthur vandenberg, republican of michigan, the opposite of borrah. he came up with one of the most wonderful cliches in the senate, which is politics stops at the water's edge. in other words, foreign policy is bipartisan. people do not say that as much anymore. but he was the one that said it. he cooperated with the truman administration in forging bipartisan support for the truman doctrine, the marshall plan, and nato. senator fulbright, democrat of arkansas. very interesting figure. i was talking to one of his aides once about what it was that prompted him as a democrat
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to go against the president of his own party. why did he get so interested in vietnam? and learn a lot about it? he sponsored a series of hearings that educated the nation about that war. have we have anything comparable to iraq? i do not think so. to afghanistan? certainly not. he said it was very simple. i screwed up his plane reservations. i said, what you mean? he was going to australia and instead of a direct flight he ended up having to spend 28 hours on the plane. and he was miffed. he said, give me a big, fat book to read. so he handed him a history of vietnam like that. and he read it. he read it 28 hours a going out and coming back. he said when he met him at the plane, fulbright walked off the plane and said, we cannot win
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this w a r. he learned something about the country. and he started his hearings. it is always something like that. any time i asked a member of congress interested in something besides the number one priority back in the district, it is something like that. congressman wolfe, he said, i took a trip west africa and the plane could not go back and i ended up having to stay overnight. i was there for a week. i never forgot those faces. and i talked to colleagues about it, and i was convinced other colleagues to go. it is faces. it is personal. it is knowing something and having the time to do it. it brings back to senator richard lugar and sam nunn. who together got interested in one of the most arcane issues possible. is the soviet union actually dismantling?
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is russia dismantling the soviet union's chemical and nuclear weapons? if not? how can we help them do it? how can we get congress to give money to them to do it and track that it is being done? probably in retrospect, one of the more productive things that the congress ever did on an issue like that, and yet, senator richard lugar could well be in a very difficult fight for reelection in part because of the identification of the good work he has done in foreign policy. so he is rapidly rebuilding ties back home. so this idea of people who have excelled in foreign policy somehow getting burned for it is one of the many factors that is a de-motivating factor. how you build expertise without time, which they no longer have
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to and without travel? here again, the press can take credit for making travel look like a bad thing. we were the ones that convince people that travel is really a junket. it is wasting time. i admit some of these -- tip o'neill did have a famous outing to the philippines that involve a lot of golf. this does look bad. but the time spent in knowing a place is important. but when you come back home and you're in a congressional and our men were committee work no longer matters, where leaders take issues of committees and resolve them behind closed doors and send them to the floor in a whipped vote where you can vote with the party or not, it is a demoralized atmosphere. it is a factor i think that academics do not take into enough account and journalists certainly do not.
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now, when a speaker john boehner came in he said that one thing he wanted to do was to restore congress functioning as an institution and restore the committee process. the house would be out every few weeks, but it would be back for the full week and committees would be fully functioning. it is still dangerous to stand in front of the door at noon on thursday. i do not know that this plan is working. the question of how you develop expertise without time. it is an issue. foreign affairs used to be an "a" list assignment. one of the things that struck me by senator kerry is that he had a very unusual choice between the appropriations committee, which basically means you never have to raise a dime the rest of your life. people will be coming to you for money. people would kill to be on the appropriations committee. or for affairs, where he had been -- or foreign affairs,
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where he had been one of the most remarked on witnesses. he chose foreign affairs. that is not a decision many people are making these days. effectively, it is no longer an "a" list committee. precisely because a play so badly at home. i want to talk about currency manipulation. i am out of time, but the collapse this and hope this may be something we get into. currency manipulation looks like an arcane issue -- china currency. but it has such an impact on the current job situation in this country. looking over this debate, i think he would see that. the u.s.-china commission, formally known as the u.s.- china economic and security review commission -- was formed by congress in october, 2000 to give congress updates on the china relationship. is it good for the economy? how are we doing militarily?
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every year they produced an astonishing reports that is ignored. if you look back to all the commission reports on terrorism before the 9/11 commission, tremendous. the repression and accurate, completely ignored. the same thing with the time the commission. i saw an advance copy of their new report for which i had to pay $38 to get a xerox. i do not know why. you can get a free very soon. the u.s.-china trade deficit is now more than half of the u.s. trade deficit with the world. it is 12% worse than it was last year. you saw from the commerce department last thursday that our trade deficit with china is at a record high -- 25,000,000,001 month alone. the u.s. imports roughly -- $25 month.n in one
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the u.s. imports 640% more from china than it exports to china. one of the reports is that it took me a long time to realize is that a lot of that is from american companies manufacturing in china and is selling backyard. if you blinked, you would miss that in the debate that just went on. congress collapsed this debate over china's currency and free trade to two days. that means that for a journalist is impossible to cover. because the google news does not care about it after the vote. and it does not care about it until just before the vote. so there are two days to make, to write anything that would matter or to make a point, and then the attention move somewhere else. ford invested enterprises was responsible for 55% of china's exports, and 68% of its trade
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surplus in 2010. 2/3 of all of those chinese goods are in fact made by foreign companies operating in china in selling back to this market. employment in the united states -- this has nothing to do with my topic. employment in the united states would increase by up to 2.5 million jobs and china were to adopt an intellectual property system equivalent to the united states. . . .
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as a result of the sanctions, the assad regime is struggling to by buyers for its oil and to maintain economic stability. the imf has revised its projections downward for the syrian economy this year, from 3% growth to a 2% contraction, and predicts increasing pressure on their foreign currency reserves. we are making progress in iran and syria, but there is still much to be done to keep them from evading the sanctions already in place and to take new steps to increase the pressure on these regimes.
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in the case of iran, we continue focus on the central bank of iran. although it is u.s. financial institutions are already generally prohibited from doing business from any bank in iran, including the cbi, further u.s. actions against the cbi, if it obtains multilateral support, could further isolated it with a powerful impact on iran. i can assure the committee as secretary geithner said in his letter to congress august 29, all options to increase the financial pressure on iran or on the table, including the possibility of imposing additional sanctions against the cbi. we will also continue to work with governments in europe, the gulf, and elsewhere to impose financial pressures to ratchet up the pressure on assad to step down. if they continue the path of defiance, we will continue to develop new ways to impose additional costs on them.
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i look forward to working with the congress and this committee to enhance our national security interests. >> i think our witnesses for your statement. i will recognize myself for questions. ambassador sherman, when asked by the informant that the assassination of the saudi ambassador needed to go forward even if doing so would cause mass american casualties, the accused perpetrator responded, "if hundreds go with them, expletive them." is this still a part of the administration policy, this package of incentives for iran, based on their suspension of uranium enrichment? if so, with the administration seek waivers on legislative for strictures that have been proposed and will be proposed in
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could -- this same officer coordinated a plot foiled this week. the karbala plot was daring and sophisticated. to the years later, the obama administration approved the release of two brothers who were members of the karbala it team, and one of the leaders of the special groups. the public rationale offered for their release was that it was part of an iraqi reconciliation effort. why did the administration not designate the gentleman who was complicitous in this murder for hire plot at that time, given that he was the key enablers of this deadly attack on americans? and he was not -- was that not a
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part of their engagement with the iranian regime? >> thank you for your questions, madam chair. the administration is very clear. our policy toward iran is to get end theirerifiably an nuclear weapons program in their nuclear weapons ambitions. we are quite unambiguous about that objective. there has been at two-pronged approach to that objective, and they interact with each other. we want to create the maximum pressure on iran. to do so, we not only need to impose -- which we have -- the strongest sanctions bilaterally against our brand, but we need to mobilize the international community, because sanctions are most effective when they are severe, when they are enforced,
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and when they are taken toward by multiple countries. we are very powerful and strong and consequential to iran, but when we have a united nations security council resolution signed done to buy the entire security council -- signed onto by the entire security council, we create -- we increase the severity and impact of sanctions. it is better when we have others do it with us. >> it is good when we have all the options on the table, but when we do not even to our own -- >> we are absolutely committed to following through the enforcement on all our stations aired we have one track which is in sanctions and increasing the pressure in every single possible way that we can. we're greatly appreciative of assad as a useful tool in doing
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that. and rather than engage in whether there is an on ramp to having a discussion with iran to actually end their nuclear weapons program. >> you believe that engagement with a country whose leaders have reportedly sanctioned this assassination plot, because money transfers would of been very difficult in a country like that, were not approved by higher-ups', that engagement with this country as possible? >> so far the answer has been no. >> but you will continue. >> iran has not been serious or sincere. in fact, right after i was concerned, i went to the general assembly and had a meeting with the p five plus 1. >> i am sorry that my time is up. do a good to pester berman. i asked a lot -- we will go to mr. berman.
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we need to realize that they are not willing to negotiate and they do not wish to negotiate. it may have one sentence? >> may i have one section? at that meeting, but we agree there should be no conversation with iran unless there is seriousness and a way to verify that seriousness. >> we just had a conversation at the un. but anyway, thank you very much. mr. berman. >> if i will ask my own questions. yesterday, i have three questions, so i appreciate short answers and i will try to make the questions should. yesterday we passed a bill that would result in the united states cutting most of its contributions to the un. since nothing works in the
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context of getting iran to change its behavior, unless we are dissentient iran for decades, totally, in terms of our embargo, unless we get other companies and other governments to do it, however the passage of that kind of law, how would it affect your international strategy? i ask you, secretary sherman. >> thank you, congressman. we have expressed strong opposition about the impacts. as secretary clinton pointed out, restricting u.s. participation in withholding 50% of contributions would have severely undercut our ability to stop nuclear non- proliferation combat terrorism, and as you know, it would mean that we would have to curtail our work with the sanctions committee, with a panel of
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experts. that the iaea would be unbounded to an extent that they would be able to carry out -- and funded to the extent that they would not be able to carry out what we are all the truck -- unfunded to the extent they would not be able to carry out our objections. it would be severely hampered. >> thank you. secretary , you have big shoes to fill but your the two that can fill it so we're regret -- we're glad to have you there. the notion of sanctioning the central bank governor and, -- of iran, nothing will have the andct on iran's economy
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revenue than those sanctions. secretary cohen could you set -- you testify that there is an option that there is multilateral support. is the u.s. engaging in trying to develop the support for those kinds of sanctions, as you did in the preludes to another carhart >> thank you, congressman, for the kind words, first of all. in response to your question, yes. we are engaging in efforts to develop the multilateral support that would be, i think, critically important in having bi betion against the c really effective. the important point to recognize here is that as you noted, we have sanctions on iran and have so for almost eight decades. that includes the cbi.
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there's no american financial institution that has dealings with the cbi, including the federal reserve. it is completely cut off from the united states. the real question is, can we by taking another action against the cbi, by designating it as , can we illicit multilateral respect for that action that work is underway. >> and that is where, by the way? if you dismiss the option of ever dealing with the iranians, should they decide to choose their process, you weaken your ability to get the international support to impose the sanctions that could be affected, since we have imposed all the sections we can impose. we have to have other companies changing and country's changing
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their behavior. i do want to say, unless we deal with the central bank, it seems that we have a huge gap in our effectiveness of financial sanctions. and finally, in my last, is there an opportunity to get the saudis and others to increase their oil production to help -- in addition to the central bank -- the other compelling thing would be if we can bring down the price of oil $20 a barrel, increase production by the saudis, who have much motivation to do so, it would bring it about faster than anything. that would really put the pressure on iran. any? >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. royce, the chairman on the subcommittee of terrorism, non- proliferation, and trade. >> i have a couple of questions. secretary sherman, let me ask you this question first.
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it has to do with whether or not the people in iran have exact -- have access to google plus, flash, and other websites. we want them-be able to obtain the tools that they need. but are there impediments to then accessing these sites? another any impediments on our in a? in thank you very much for that very important question. we do in fact have programs in place that do training and offer technologies that might help the people of iran as if the repression and a lack of access to exactly -- escape the repression and a lack of access to the programs it usages. unfortunately, and i would be glad to discuss this further in
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another setting, because given the repressive nature of the iranian regime, it would put other people at risk. >> i would be happy to do that. the other question i have has to do with the central bank, which is an arm of the regime that assisted it in sidestepping u.s. financial pressure reportedly. it is also assisting in the nuclear weapons program in terms of financing. in addition, there are reports at least that it is help fund the hezbollah. secretary dhs said that all options are on the table when it -- secretary geithner has said that all options are on the table. are you currently looking at that? >> as secretary cohen articulate it, we are indeed looking at that. we have already cut off all u.s. connections and
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relationships with a central banker the question is whether we can do so in no way -- with the central bank. the question is whether we can do so internationally. >> one law gave the treasury department the responsibility to pursue relentlessly, as we said, foreign banks engaged in business with blacklisted iranian entities. i suspect at this point in time, we must have a laundry list that we have put together all foreign banks that have done that. i wanted to talk to you about that enforcement action. i have a concern about how long we drew out the process on the rule itself. it looked as though you're trying to avoid moving forward on this front. and as you can tell, there is a
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consensus at least in this institution of opinion that this should have already been done. >> congressmen, let me talk about the 1 04 e rolde -- 104e rule. we have already sent out to u.s. financial institutions a request of information with respect to a number of foreign banks where we have reason to believe that they may be involved in potentially sanctionable activity under this rule. that being said, we've noted in my testimony that we have aggressively implemented it since it was passed. using other sorts of information, what we have done is understood where there may be banks that are continuing to do
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business within, and we have gone out as part of worldwide efforts specifically to those jurisdictions and those institutions where we thought there may be sanctionable activity. and as we noted, we have had an extraordinarily positive result -- response. this may be something that would be better discussed a different setting, but the results have been a tremendous reduction in the number of banks dealing with them. >> now would be the time to lean in. we already have north korean using a jordanian-based bank has is conduit to receive money from syria and iran. and north korea was the entity providing with a nuclear reactor. but in the middle of six party talks, by the way, and has provided iran with missile technology. kim jong does not do that for
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free. clearly those conduit's, making examples of those institutions and leaning in coming in know, to do that sends a message to the next institution that might be engaged with the others. >> thank you. the committee will recess. we have two quickbooks. when we come back, we will turn to mr. -- for his questions. >> we're coming back. >> yes, sir. this is an ac
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>> this meeting is once again in order. >> thank you for the second of a series of two very important hearings. i want to thank both of our expert witnesses for their very important testimony. thank them and the administration for the great work they continue to do on
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pressing this. but my question really remains -- what is left to do? if we had our wish list of all the sanctions and actions that we could do, short of the one that we do not want to necessarily contemplate or do, what would that this day? -- a list the? -- list be? >> thank you, congressman. there are things that we are working on in addition to cbi, which we have talked about. one area where we have been very active, and where we will
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continue to focus is on the irt gc. iran has used that to take over part of the economy. >> they are already on the list. >> they are, but what we can do and what we have done in the last several months is to add affiliated industries -- affiliated entities for session. -- for sanctions. one was done because the irgc took over tidewater from a private donor. -- private owner. >> so we should list all of the affiliate's agents, subsidiaries of the irgc? >> and we're working to do that. >> can we expect it soon? >> we have done the ones that we
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are aware of. the iranians continue to offer of more targets as they turn over more of their economy to be irgc. it provides is more targets to go after. >> assuming that we have the entire list and we did the entire list, what then? we have had sanctions on cuba for 40-some odd years. are we prepared to wait that long and cuba does not seem to be presently developing a nuclear weapons program. the point being, we do not have 40 years in iran. >> indeed. >> in the longer that we wait, the time to do is that we of taken under -- as you've said, we have taken a number of sanctions and i look at your suggestions which are excellent and give us a whole
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sector to pay attention to, which i think we probably need to pay more attention to. we thank you very much for that suggestion. but what we need to do is to get every single country we can to imagine exactly what to have said, congressmen -- what would have happened if this had been successful? one should think about that, you, country acts, ought to end of all the sanctions that will put the -- country x, ought to join all the sanctions. >> i am sorry. >> i yield back. >> thank you, mr. ackerman. bot is recognized for five minutes. >> i am deeply concerned that we are pursuing the same iranian policy that we had back in 2009,
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namely, engagement and pressure. and after three years, it is safe to say that this policy has failed, as far as i'm concerned. because -- and causing them to fundamentally change their goal of nuclear weapons. a lot like to read a few quotes from the administration that at that -- i would like to read a few quotes from the administration. in may 18, 2009, at a press conference with prime minister netanyahu, president obama gave the all lines of the policy. we are engaged in the process to reach out with iran and persuade them that it is not in their interest to pursue a nuclear weapon, and that they should change course. but asher the prime minister that we're not foreclosing -- and i assured the prime minister that we're not foreclosing on a range of approach and make sure is that iran and this is that we're serious. i will read another quote.
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one month after the regime in tehran perpetrated one of the most flagrant instances of election fraud, secretary of state hillary clienton said, we have no illusions that this will guarantee the success of any time. the prospects have certainly shifted in the weeks following the election. but we also understand the importance of offering to engage iran and giving its leader is a clear choice whether it to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path the further isolation. we remain ready to engage with iran but the time for action is now on. the opportunity will not remain open indefinitely. and then nearly two years later, national security adviser tom donnelly outline the same
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policy. and i quote again, we offer the iranian government quite directly of bonafide the offer of engagement. they have chosen not to take that up. so the pressure tactic is where we are today. with the opportunity for the iranians, if they're willing to take it, to have a conversation with us and the world community about their nuclear program. and then yet again this morning, madam secretary, in your written statement, just a little while ago -- we will continue to increase the pressure until the iranian regime engages the international community with seriousness and sincerity. and then it goes on, we have offered to meet with iran and have proposed confidence- building and transparency arrangements that offered practical incentives. it sounds like more and more
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help for ron to me. as we approach your 3 of this policy, it seems to be -- year three of this policy, it seems that it is not only unchanged but it has failed to achieve our core objective, persuading the regime in tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. i'm sure that our witnesses and outlined numerous measures that the administration has taken in support of these policies, but these measures are merely means of trying to coax or pressure the regime to change its calculus, not policies in and of themselves. my question is first, how is the administration's overall policy actually altering? how have we actually altered iranian actions and/or strategic calculation regarding its nuclear program? and conversely, why has three
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years of iranian rejection and escalation not altered our policy? >> if i may, i will say that i understand that we share your frustration that more progress has not been achieved. but in fact, the incredibly robust sanctions have only been in place for very short period of time in the history of sanctions. indeed, it was not until this administration that we had the most extensive, most multilateral sentence ever imposed on iran ever. indeed, it has begun have some bite. it has hurt their economy, which means they cannot procure some of the elements that they need for their nuclear weapons programs. >> i do not want to interrupt but my question, how has this all to their policy? you're saying that we have done different things. >> a number of things that we
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have done have slowed -- although they have moved forward, they have not moved forward at the pace which they hoped to. i do not disagree with you, congressman, that we would have liked to have made more progress. we do not disagree with you the time is not on our side. as the president said yesterday, we are looking to increase even further the efforts that we're taking for iran to be held accountable for what it has done here, particularly in the wake of the plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador. this is a difficult program -- problem and all the options are on the table which a difficult. >> thank you very much. >> i want to follow up on this. i hear that you are frustrated. you can imagine that we are frustrated. and the american people are frustrated.
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i think the world community is frustrated. so let me ask you this. a lot of time what happens is that we're told we're using the best of the ability under a lot to do what we can do, and we are hamstrung, and those types of things. but when people like me ask, and i will ask again, what you need from the congress to be successful so that you're not frustrated with everything happening in the state department, then we hear that -- we do not hear any concrete steps that you're asking the congress to do. what tools to you need -- do you need to really have an impact with iran? >> thank you, congressman. i will turn the secretary cohen in a moment. the size of the legislation you have put on the table, which has
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been incredibly useful, and congressman ackerman has taken a set -- given us a sector we may look at it -- but quite frankly, we should not unfund the u.n. because we need the oversight bodies to know where facilities are to monitor what is going on, to be able to act where we need to act. secondly, i was there -- >> a un rather raspy part of an organization that works against are interested times. >> it does not do everything that we want them to do. ea has been a valuable tool. we also need a budget that allows us to do that type of programming that the congressman royce raised around how we in fact it internet tools to people and repressive societies. >> that is our answer -- more internet? with all due respect, excuse me
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please. with all due respect, ah -- i am not sure that i have a lot of confidence that the threat is being taken seriously enough. we now recently seen iran coming through mexico and a plot here in the united states. when i start talking about whether or not the cartels in mexico and are an insurgency, using terrorist activities, typically from government witnesses, we hear, i would not really say that -- although it to brownfield's credit, he would agree in he has agreed. most serbs would not -- are saying, we would not go that far.
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we do not seem to go after our interests. so turning everything over to the un and then sitting here and saying we need more social networking as the answer leads me to believe that -- i do you do not understand the seriousness of what is happening, or you are unable to articulate to this committee what it is that you really need. because it may not fit in what the administration has decided it wants to do. that is the frustration. >> i understand that frustration, senator. senator -- congressman. we did that yesterday. how was suggesting tools that would be useful to us. i quite agree that the fundamental policy must be to increase the pressure on iran and get them to eliminate their nuclear weapons program. as i said earlier, we have the
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most extensive, most robust set of sanctions, and we welcome the ongoing discussion with congress around cbi and other sectors that we can attack. >> again, with all due respect, this is double talk. u.s. even up five minutes, you have done great, but i have heard nothing about what you're suggesting that we need other than more social networking. and it is frightening. it is frightening to think that your position is and the position of our government is -- it appears so inadequate and not really understanding what the threat is. anyways, my time has expired madam chair, i appreciate the time. >> thank you, mr. mack. mr. deutch is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. secretary sherman, let me start
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with a local issue for may, which is also the subject of this hearing. robert levenson is a constituent of mine missing for years. in conversations that had during the summer, there is some belief the suggested he was being held as an agent of the iranians. in light of the recent release of the hikers, we have to continue to press the iranians on this issue. any additional information you can provide for me or for mr. levenson's family? [inaudible] >> turn your microphone on, please. and congressman, as you know, the administration shares your concern. we will leave no stone unturned. i called mrs. levenson to talk
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with her personally to let her know if that our perseverance much as my predecessor did. i know that since this morning, there is an ap report about a meat -- our recent meeting between u.s. officials and the cubans. we've always said we would use of diplomatic channels to get alan gross home. we continue to call on the cuban government to release mr. gross on humanitarian grounds and to allow him to return to his family and bring to an end the long ordeal that began well over a year-and-a-half ago. and i can confirm that such a meeting took place. in the department is working hard to locate and bring mr. levenson, and mr. gross says will. >> absolutely. i completed the two, my apologies. but maybe clear -- on both faces, mr. gross in cuba and mr. levenson in iran, we're doing everything we can with every channel that we can.
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>> i appreciate you answering my second question. i wanted to talk about these reports about china and their activities. a reuters reporter where the prime minister said the chinese are very active in iran. there may have been some projects reported in the media. the question that and have -- on the existing sanctions law, and are we doing anything we can right now, under the existing sanctions lot there are three options if i understand them correctly. but if we know that a company is violating the law, begin impose sanctions, we can waive sanctions for national security purposes, or can designate that that company is subject to the special rule. the news this some chinese companies may have scaled back tells us that those chinese companies are operating there.
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if that is the case, then those companies have to be treated in one of those three ways if the sanctions are going to have any import at all. is that where we're going? why have we not done that it was marketed we share the concerns particularly about what china is doing in the energy sector. the president, the vice president, they have all raised this directly with the chinese. we have not designated -- we have designated one chinese company for its activity regarding foreign persons helping, but as you said, it appears that the interventions at the highest level to get them to slow than existing activities, not to conclude new deals is working. the secretaries continue to look at this. >> we are on a limited time.
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the question is not just about what they have slowed down and whether they are having an effect. if it -- is the summation of doing what it should? with respect to companies all around the world, they have to know that we will enforce the sanctions. >> absolutely. >> or we will look least identify the companies and then waive the sanctions. i would suggest you that in this case, those companies that we are ratifying that they are slowing down should be identified. if they have committed to leave, they should be subject to the special rule. it we are gratified that they are slowing down and for national security purposes that is sufficient, then say that. but identify those companies so that every other company that does business in violation of our sanctions law understands what the consequences will be. >> thank you very much.
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we also have mr. rorer barker, but now we go to mr. turner of new york. >> thank you, madam chair. i have no doubt of the efficacy of this nation's and slowing this matter down. -- of these sanctions in slowing this matter down. what about changing the mindset of the iranian regime? we have listened to the rhetoric coming out of there from both the theological -- eschatology -- it is far more frightening. how was this way in? -- weighed in?
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is a given away, a consideration? -- is if given a way, a consideration? -- is it given a weight, consideration? each >> or ran's response to this plot that we recently uncovered and disrupt it was basically to call it a fantasy. wanted to bomb the saudi ambassador on u.s. soil and also killed a group of innocent bystanders, if that is fantasy, then obviously are ran lives in a different world. everyone on this committee would agree that they do, which is why you call this hearing today. i would quite agree with you that this is -- what they say has no weight to it so far. >> if you believe what their speeches are, you would think
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the sanctions -- we are throwing spitballs at a tank. >> we know, congressman, through a variety of means that in fact what we're doing has had an impact, that in fact it has created problems in their economy, it is created some dissension within their government, it has put -- there is a considerable path to go yet to get them to eliminate their nuclear weapons ambitions. >> if i -- i completely agree with what the chairman said, but if i could just add a couple of points on that. it is important to separate iranian rhetoric from the reality. we are able to measure reality
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in two important respects. one is, and add detail this in my testimony, we can see the economic impact of the sanctions that we have been applying, in the oil field development and in their much more constricted an isolated financial network that makes it increasingly difficult for iran to engage with the outside world -- and if i may, the sanctions are designed to change their behavior. i think in dealing with mockery of -- with north korea, they are materialistic, they understand what they want, and it does have some in fact -- a fact. we're dealing with a different animal here, are we not? >> it is somewhat like north korea take care is very much about its ability to integrate into the broader world. the iranians feel even more
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intensely the isolation that the sanctions have brought to them than the north koreans. i think that the sanctions are having an effect, notwithstanding the rhetoric. the other point i would make is that we hear often from the iranians about projects or new banks that they have established, new relationships that they have concluded. quite frequently, it is just bluster. there is the reality to it. which is not to say that we should ignore the egregious and vile rhetoric that often comes from the iranian leadership, but it is important to separate -- >> is it your opinion that that is not to be believed? their rhetoric, at its core, there is nothing more than -- >> i want to be very clear.
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i think the basic direction of the iranian regime is something that we have to take at face value and very seriously. but the more specific claims and assertions of sanctions not having an effect and that sort of thing. >> thank you very much, mr. turner. mr. ingle is recognized. in thank you, madam chair, and welcome to both of you. you both agree work. with a good -- you both do great work. with the help of the chair, i was the sponsor of and accountability act. we were run around for a number of years trying to get support in congress and the president signed it. and now from what i understand, the president is placing a
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robust series of sanctions and penalties on the syrian regime has ever -- as a direct result of this accountability act. does the administration require additional tools from congress to place additional sanctions on syria's assets? if so, why can we do? whether remaining pressure points? >> congressman, thank you very much and thank you for your leadership along with the chair and the other members of this committee on bringing for the syrian accountability act. we have implemented almost all the sanctions listed in an in that act. i can walk you through what has occurred most recently. there was an executive order signed blocking the property of this syrian government, banning new investments or supporting the service areas.
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therefore to fill in all the rest of the sanctions. bill also imposed travel restrictions on the syrian embassy. -- we have already imposed travel restrictions on the syrian embassy. we think you have given us a tool that is allowing us to impose really extraordinary sanctions on syria and we're grateful. at the moment, since this is a new instrument, where for filling these and executing the sanctions that are possible under it. right now i think we have the tools that we need. i will let dave that anything you like. >> that i quite agree. it was issued in the middle of august and now we have a comprehensive sanctions on syria. it is entirely cut off from the united states. the difficulty has you know, there was not much interaction
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between the united states and syria to begin with. so the effect of the sanctions that we apply, there is a limit to that, but what we have been doing, working with our colleagues at stake in particular, is working with the eu to ensure that the you applies very powerful sanctions -- that the eu applies very essential predict very powerful sachems and we have had success. >> it seems like we in the rest of the world or reluctant to do anything to undermine the assad regime. i thought i was a mistake. even the israelis were reluctant, because it was like better the devil that you know than the devil you do not know. i think the reluctance is gone, because we have seen assad murdering his own people. i wanted to talk of that newly
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formed council. are they legitimate representatives of the opposition? and me also ask you this -- if the assad regime is toppled, and i know this is a crapshoot because we do not know what is going to come, but from the way i see it, does not potentially have positive ramifications for the area? in other words, syria is right back in the middle of lebanon, and would not be a blow to hezbollah and to the iranian regime if syria were to go? what did show the iranians who are oppressed -- would not show the iranians who are oppressed that there was hope? >> going to the end of your comment, we would agree. one of the premises of this hearing is the tremendous
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interaction between what is happening in iran and syria, and that syria has turned to iran more and more as the only support it has as it is further isolated from the international community just as you have described. there for change in leadership and an opening to all the people of syria to want change would in fact have an impact on iran to further isolate it as standing by itself and no longer having it as easily to interject itself, not only into lebanon, but be a destabilizing factor for other regions. quite agree with you. as for the opposition, i think the ambassador has done a good job at trying to meet with everyone and understand who all the characters are. we do not know quite yet how it will before. >> thank you. mr. poe is recognized. again thank you, madam chair.
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in 1979, 444 americans were held hostage -- or 52 americans were held hostage for four to 44 days by the iranian tyrants. -- 444 days by the iranian tyrant. that failure to abide by court order, and the mek was denied due process by our own state department and the state department has failed to make up his mind one way or another whether the mek should be the listed or stay on the list. i think that is not a good situation for the united states state department to be in. it should make a decision. sentience historically have never worked. it just prolongs the inevitable. -- sanctions historically have
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never were permitted just prolongs the inevitable, whatever that may be. does the united states have a policy the reports regime change in iran through the people of iran? to end the administration has a policy to eliminate a rand's nuclear weapons programs and ambitions, to stop its international terrorism, to stop this distillation. >> i only have five minutes and i do not want to toss a much that i do not get an answer. does the united states government have a policy that we support a regime change by the people of iran in their country crush margins i think what we have seen throughout the arab spring is when people make choices about what they want for their future, the international community supports people in that effort to. but it us up to the people of iran.
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>> do we support the regime change if they wanted? would we supported? >> i think we would support the people of iran having the same freedoms that all the rest of us have. >> i am sorry, is that a yes or no? >> that is exactly what i said, congressman, which is that we support the aspirations of the iranian people. >> one way we can help a regime change, and that is the greatest hope for peace, is that we have a regime change and the little fellow from the desert be replaced by his own people, that would be the most secure and best way for world peace. to replace him through the people. one way we can do that is show support by making up our mind on what mek should stay on a foreign terrorist list for not. we need to fish or cut bait on that issue. of course, i think we should make a decision that they should the delisted and let the people
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of iran in their own way change the regime has has been occurred in the arab spring and in some other countries. when iran going to have nuclear- weapons, secretary sherman? >> there is a lot of discussion about what that timing might be. it is certainly not a good sign that they have declared that they have moved to 20% in richmond -- in richmond. --enrichment. but i could not give you today in this setting an assessment. i would be glad they have a separate briefing to get the intelligence community's best estimate of that. >> appears to me that no matter what we have done and what the international committee has done, iran is still determined
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to have nuclear weapons. another sign that sanctions has not been successful. the latest, working with who they thought were aeta operative to commit crimes in the united states, is there any policy in the analysis other than to allies -- isolate iran, whatever that means? is there further plans? >> the president said yesterday, congressman, that he wants to ensure that we have the strongest response for this latest horrific act by iran. we're working assiduously to make real that commitment that he stated yesterday, and we will be doing everything we can and have been from the president on down to try to move in that direction. some of those things have been
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discussed here today. there are others under consideration. as the president has also said, every option remains under consideration. >> thank you so much, judge poe. mr. carnahan. >> thank you, madam chair. welcome to you both. thank you for being here today and congratulations, secretary sherman, for your new role. we look forward to working with you. i wanted to start talking about iran. we hear

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